By Seth Rees
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work "(II. Cor ix. 8).
We have a perfect right to look for and expect the operations of the superhuman and divine in the arena of human affairs. If our expectations in this direction were greater, it would be far better for us. Thousands of professed Christians expect but little and are not disappointed.
Let us notice the context. In it, and in many other scriptures, we are taught that it is a law of grace that the more we give away, the more we have. This is contrary to all human precedent and reasoning. The world says: "If you want to be rich, save all you get and get all you can." God says:" Go sell all that thou hast and give to the poor." "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." "God loveth a cheerful giver." Dr. A. J. Gordon, of Boston, said that a literal translation of this text is, "God loveth a hilarious giver." Just think of a man giving and then shouting happy at the same time! Imagine a man in holy glee pouring his money out to God!
A farmer goes out to sow his grain. In some of our fertile valleys if he sows three bushels to the acre he will reap sixty or seventy, but if he grudges the grain and sows stingily he will reap but half a crop. "So he that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly." God's thought and plan is to water this great, dry, famishing world through the pipes, tubes, and faucets of our hearts, lips, and hands. He does not want reservoirs but channels.
God is able. Stop and reflect on that word "able." Sister, you may write it over all your difficulties. You may pen it across all your disappointments, you may inscribe it over all your fears, you may post it over all your doubts and troubles. Brother, carve it into your counter, hang it over your work bench, weave it into your business. Take the brush of faith, my friend, and paint it over your sewing machine, cook stove or wash tub, over the sick bed of your loved one. Stretch it like a bow across the darkest cloud that ever threatens your way. "GOD IS ABLE."
God is not only able to help, but He is able always. It is true that He is able when money is plenty, friends are numerous, stock is rising, your situation is sure, the family is well, the sun is shining, the birds are warbling, and the flowers are blooming; but, thank God, He is ALSO able when money is gone, stock is worthless, friends are cold, and the heavens are black with disappointment. God is able ALWAYS.
Look at that old eagle sitting high on the crag watching with keen eye the approaching storm. The lowering clouds are darkening the heavens, the lightnings are flashing and the thunders are rumbling. She turns her eye to the sun, for she is the bird of the sun and beholds it disappear behind an angry cloud. Still she does not move. She waits until the storm is almost upon her, then suddenly she utters a shrill scream, spreads her pinions, turns her breast full to the storm, and, as it rages, mounts higher on the crest of the tempest until she is above the clouds, up where the sun shines and all is serene. Instead of fleeing from trouble or succumbing to opposition let us throw our breasts full to the storm. God is able to make all grace abound and cause the very thing which threatened our destruction bear us up and up and on until we are in the very face of the sun.
The word "abound " is worthy of our consideration. It means to run over, all you want and can use and then some to give away. It means "full, heaped up, pressed down, shaken together, and then running over."
The writer once lived just across the street from an academy building out of which four or five hundred children were let each afternoon at four o'clock. They were expected to come out in order. Everyone who failed to observe the rule until he had left the grounds must go back and settle with the instructor. Every now and then one would break rank until a score perhaps returned for reprimanding. Who were they? They were the healthiest boys in school; they had abounding life. They could not be made to go by rule. When you get filled with the Holy Ghost you are spoiled for formal and set rules. People will cry "Discipline" at you, but almost unconsciously you will overstep the bounds and shock the sticklers for law.
There are people who never cross the threshold of my home without blessing it. They leave a fragrance behind them. There are others who call who relieve me by their departure. You have had people in your house that cursed it with their gossip and twaddle; others have come who are so filled with the Spirit that you felt their good influence for days after they were gone
People generally seem to understand that we should abound; they seem to feel that there ought to be something spontaneous about our holy Christianity. When churches lose their spirituality and spontaneity they begin to look about for a substitute. When we Quakers lost the song out of our souls and the oracle out of our "heart," not believing in a paid choir nor a hireling ministry, we sat down in silence, hats on and hands clasped. When other churches backslide they go into the market and buy canaries and an orator, and put the former on their perches and the latter in his box and say 'Go to, now; do ye entertain us this day. But when the church has been filled with the Holy Ghost she never lets out the privilege of preaching and singing. She does her own worshipping, and brings heaven to earth.
We have recently heard of one of the most modern of pulpit attractions A minister in New England city has had a small fountain constructed just in front of his pulpit. While he is reading his little lackadaisical sermonette on Sunday morning the fountain is sending up a beautiful stream, symbolic of what should be in that and every other pulpit in the land. The minister was dimly conscious that there ought to be a spring or a fountain somewhere, and since he saw none in the pew and knew of none in the pulpit, he had one placed between the two.
It is after God has abounded toward us that we "abound unto every good work." We must get filled up from God before we can be full for every good cause. This fullness removes from us the tendency to be interested in nothing but our own concerns.
O how full the Scriptures are of an abounding gospel! Surely God hath abounded toward us in grace "exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think." For we are to abound in "faith" and "abound in thanksgiving" and "abound in joy" that our "rejoicing may be abundant." Yea, our "love" is to "abound more and more," and we are to "abound in pleasing God" and in "liberality" and in "hope." And if these things "are in us and abound they make us that we shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." "For so an entrance shall be administered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Brethren, let us come in at last with flags and pennants flying, all sails swelling in the breeze of heaven, and anchor our crafts in the harbor of our eternal home!*